GIS in Modern Planning

The Modern Role of GIS in Today’s Planning Department

The concept I keep coming back to is how isolated GIS was from planning professionals. At the time, it required hefty investments in hardware, software, and training—quite honestly at a level that didn’t make sense for most planning professionals. They could more efficiently farm out their work to the GIS technician sitting in the back cubicle and teach him/her about the right shade of yellow to use for single-family residential land use. (That was a fun lesson.)

Today’s planning department can’t work like that. Technology and the expectations that go with it have changed exponentially. The most inspiring part of today’s planning environment is that planners don’t also have to be GIS professionals.

This bothers far too many GIS professionals who have been in this field a long time. They are unhappy they aren’t the only ones who can leverage data science. It’s an antiquated and unsustainable stance that will lead them to obsolescence in this field. That’s not a theory. I’ve seen it in real life more than a few times.


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